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ISLAMABAD: The government is likely to charge two percent interest and other charges on relent loans of Rs97 billion extended to Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) for two satellites as the latter is unable to pay the loans, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

According to Strategic Planning Division, Suparco, the National Space Agency of Pakistan entrusted with the implementation of the National Space Program, executed two National Satellite Projects in its pursuance: Paksat-1R Communication Satellite launched in 2011 and PRSS-1 Remote Sensing Satellite launched in 2018. The Projects were financed by Public Sector Development Program (PSDP).

Chinese concessional loans were signed between the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) and the China EXIM Bank. The loans were signed @ 2% and were later relent by EAD to Suparco @ 15% (Paksat-1R) and 12% (PRSS-1).

It is imperative to highlight that National Space Program is geared towards supporting the Government and the Nation in reaping the benefits of space technology for national development and sovereignty and not direct revenue generation.

As a consequence, the repayment of loans is not possible which was highlighted during the visit of Prime Minister to Suparco, Islamabad.

The Prime Minister constituted a panel comprising Federal Minister of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, Federal Minister for Industries & Production and Advisor to PM on Finance and Revenue and advised Suparco to present its case to the panel and subsequently place it before the ECC.

This was presented to the panel on October 12, 2020. The panel viewed the case favorably and directed that case summary be moved for approval of the ECC. Strategic Planning Division has proposed that foreign loans of SUPARCO @ 15% (Paksat-1R) and 12% (PRSS-1) amounting to Rs 97 billion may be relent on actual interest basis i.e. @ 2% instead of @ 15% for Paksat-1R and @ 12% for PRSS-1.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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